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From passionate birder to fierce bird conservationist – Kimberly Kaufman talks about the importance of taking the next step

June 17 2019

#Partner #Bird watching #Conservation programs #GoBirding

From passionate birder to fierce bird conservationist – Kimberly Kaufman talks about the importance of taking the next step

Kimberly Kaufman is a recognized bird expert, a well-known author, and the director of the renowned Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ohio. In this interview, Kimberly talks about why birders should become more engaged in nature conservation and what kind of equipment she recommends for a rewarding birding experience.

 

What is your greatest concern regarding birding and species conservation?

KIMBERLY: The popularity of birding is growing at an encouraging rate, but I do not think there is enough effort to help birders take the next step to become bird conservationists. If we could find a way to help birders be as passionate about conserving and protecting habitat as they are about finding rare birds, we would never lose another species. With habitat being threatened at an unprecedented rate, birds need all the champions they can get. And I’d like to see the global birding community step up and do more to support the habitat the birds they love depend on.

 

“If we could find a way to help birders be as passionate about conserving and protecting habitat as they are about finding rare birds, we would never lose another species.” – Kimberly Kaufman

 

What is The Biggest Week In American Birding?

KIMBERLY: Launched in 2010, The Biggest Week In American Birding is a 10-day birding festival created and hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). Held during the first two weeks in May, the event is timed to coincide with the peak of the massive spring songbird migration through northwest Ohio.

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© Kenn Kaufmann

Why do you organize such a bird festival?

KIMBERLY: Northwest Ohio is fortunate to be home to a variety of scenic and biologically significant bird habitats. However, until BSBO launched the Biggest Week, birds and bird habitats were largely being overlooked by community leaders and elected officials. The overarching goal for creating the Biggest Week was to change that. The festival helps attract more than 90,000 visitors to the area, injecting more than 40 million dollars in the local economy each year. To date, birders from every state, 52 countries, and 6 continents have registered for the festival.

 

“Until BSBO launched the Biggest Week, birds and bird habitats were largely being overlooked by community leaders and elected officials.” – Kimberly Kaufman

 

On a personal level, one of the things I love most about birding is that it is a powerful equalizer. I have seen people battle over politics, religion, etc. But put those same people shoulder-to-shoulder watching something like a Golden-winged Warbler…and all those differences fade. People from all over the world, from every race and creed, stand side-by-side during the Biggest Week, unified by their love of birds and birding. I am incredibly honored to be part of making that happen.

 

“People from all over the world, from every race and creed, stand side-by-side during the Biggest Week, unified by their love of birds and birding. I am incredibly honored to be part of making that happen.” – Kimberly Kaufman

 

Which equipment is absolutely necessary for the perfect birding experience?

KIMBERLY: I have read some articles and heard discussion about the concept of “bare naked birding.” In other words, birding without optics. And while that might be just fine, on occasion, for expert birders, for beginners, good optics are absolutely essential to a happy, rewarding experience. I always encourage beginners to seek advice of an expert, to try many different brands before they buy, and to purchase the best binocular they can afford. Beyond that, an open mind to the world of possibilities is all you really need to enjoy birds and birding.

 

“Good optics are absolutely essential to a happy, rewarding experience.” – Kimberly Kaufman

 

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About the interviewee: KIMBERLY KAUFMAN

Kimberly Kaufman is an Ohio native whose lifelong love of the outdoors grew into a passion for birds in the 1990s. She was appointed education director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) and executive director four years later. Kaufman still holds this position today. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms magazine and has published several specialist books together with her husband Kenn Kaufman. In 2015, Kimberly Kaufman received the American Birding Association’s prestigious Chandler Robbins Award. Away from work, she is still closely involved in the bird world. At her home in Ohio, she has transformed her garden into a natural refuge. She describes it as: “My favorite place to watch birds.”

Also read our article about how a routine business meeting was the unusual trigger for Kimberly Kaufman’s birding career.

 

About the BLACK SWAMP BIRD OBSERVATORY

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in Harbor, Ohio, was founded in 1992 by a group of biologists to study bird migration and the habitat requirements of songbirds, raptors, shorebirds, and rails. The BSBO also has a strong focus on education and youth work, for example with the Ohio Young Birders Club for ages 12–18. 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of the BSBO’s Biggest Week in American Birding – the largest birding event in America. Held in northwest Ohio, known as “the warbler capital of the world,” the ten-day festival features a packed program for birders.

More details: Black Swamp Bird Observators, Biggest Week In American Birding, Ohio Young Birders Club

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